Electrical Energy Calculator - British Columbia

This electrical energy calculator was created to support GreenLearning's Energy Revealed Program.


To use this calculator, input the watts of the device you are investigating and the minutes a day it is in use. Once you click on 'Calculate Energy' the electricity used (kWh), the greenhouse gases emissions (g of GHGs) produced and cost of electricity ($) will be displayed.

Kilowatt Hours

Why is this important?
When you turn on any electrical device, it uses electricity and you are charged for the amount used. This amount varies greatly depending on the device and the length of time it is used. You need to know the unit of measure for electricity.

What’s a watt?
A watt (W) is the unit used to measure the flow of electricity.  Look at your device and find out the device use in watts. This hair dryer uses 1600W.  
A watt is a very small unit so kilowatt is used most often.
1 Kilowatt (kW)= 1000 watts
Convert from watts to kilowatts by dividing by 1000.

1600 W = 1600/1000 = 1.6 kW
The total amount of electricity used depends on how long the device is on. The unit for this is kilowatt hour (kWh).  
kilowatt hour = kW x hours

If the hair dryer is used for 4 minutes per day this amounts to:
4 minutes x 365 days
= 1460 minutes
= 1460 / 60 minutes per hour = 24.33 hours in a year.

In one year the hair dryer uses:
1.6 kW x 24.33 hours = 39 kWh

Greenhouse Gases

Why is this important?
The production of electricity produces by-products called greenhouse gases (GHGs).  These 7 gases cause changes in the upper atmosphere. Most climate scientists agree that the main cause of the current global warming trend is the over-production of GHGs.

GHG Emission Sources
Some sources of electricity production emit more GHGs than others.  Burning coal to generate electricity produces the highest GHGs and renewable energy sources produce almost no GHGs. In British Columbia, electricity generates on average 18.6 grams of GHGs per kilowatt hour (18.6 g/kWh).
Save Energy, Save the Environment
Governments, businesses and citizens want to reduce GHGs emissions and the impacts of climate change.

Back to the hair dryer. It used 39 kWh in a year and in British Columbia each kWh emits 18.6 g GHG:
39 kWh x 18.6 g/kWh = 725.4 g GHG

RETScreen Clean Energy Project Analysis Software (2022)

Electricity Rates

Why is this important?
Electric bills can get very expensive. Everyone is trying to save money. Cost is a big motivating factor in energy conservation and efficiency.
Customers in British Columbia are charged one rate for electricity up to a certain threshold in each billing period, and a higher rate for all electricity use beyond that threshold. This "stepped" rate is designed to encourage conservation.

Step 1
$0.0939 per kWh for first 1,350 kWh in an average two month billing period (22.1918 kWh per day).

Step 2
$0.1408 per kWh over the 1,350 kWh Step 1 threshold.

Rates may differ for competitive retailers.

To run the hair dryer for one year costs:
Step 1: 39 kWh x $ .094 = $3.67
Step 2: 39 kWh x $ .14 = $5.46

Energy Rates - Hydro BC (2022)